Luhrmann promotes tourism down under

BAZ Luhrmann, Australian film director, screenwriter, and producer also widely known for his ‘Wear Sunscreen’ music single released in 1999, has created a special destination campaign for Tourism Australia.
The campaign, which started last month, will run in all of Tourism Australia’s 22 major markets around the world until mid 2009. In the GCC the campaign will start from late December in cinemas, to coincide with the theatre release of the film Australia created by Luhrmann and his Bazmark production team. The movie stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, and opens to audiences around the world from this month.
For Tourism Australia, Baz Luhrmann has taken the core themes of adventure and transformation and turned these into provocative and sophisticated short film styled advertisements. To achieve this he used the uniquely Australian concept of ‘walkabout’ – an Aboriginal tradition. ‘Walkabout’ involves a person returning to the bush for a short period to re-connect to their traditional way of life and the land – today a ‘walkabout’ takes the form of a holiday.
Further campaign exposure will continue in television, print and online from the beginning of 2009 to coincide with the lead-up to the peak summer travel season.
Tourism Australia managing director Geoff Buckley said the unique opportunity created by the production of Luhrmann’s epic film Australia was one the organisation could not let pass.
“We knew that this huge film would create a wave of publicity that would put the country in the spotlight around the globe,” he said. “And we found that the film’s story had a remarkable resonance for what we do marketing the country as a travel destination.
“The challenge was always going to be how to ride the power of the film, but with a stand alone and self reliant tourism campaign. Getting Baz Luhrmann and his team on board to make that campaign was simply the best result we could hope for.”
Nick Baker, executive general manager marketing for Tourism Australia said the campaign was unlike any other tourism campaign. “It’s cinematic in style, is based on a story with a beginning, middle and end, is sophisticated and highly emotive,” he said. “It is not the traditional slide show of pretty pictures of places and people.”
“The idea stems from Baz’s film, which tells the story of Nicole Kidman’s character, Lady Sarah Ashley, who has lost her sense of self but who finds adventure, romance and her true self when she comes to Australia.
“We’ve made that core storyline into two short film like stories of contemporary people who are stressed and disconnected from their loved ones and their true selves, and who find their centre and their release in Australia.”
Baker said the term ‘walkabout’ had been adopted in the campaign as a uniquely Australian way of describing what holidays should be – a time of release, joy, discovery and reconnection. It also enabled them to emphasise the country’s indigenous culture for a young Aboriginal actor, Brandon Walters who features in the film Australia, invites potential travellers to come ‘walkabout’ in Australia.
The campaign features an all Australian cast and was shot on location in north Western Australia and on sound stages at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney.
Tourism Australia hopes this campaign will ensure Australia reaches its forecast growth rate of 3.2 per cent in international arrivals in 2009 and halt the predicated decline in domestic travel within Australia.
Tourism Australia is investing around $40 million in the advertising campaign and around $10 million on promotional opportunities around the movie. It will develop a more long term campaign for release in mid to late 2009.